Belgian air navigation service provider (ANSP) Belgocontrol is sending its operational meteorological data to its international partners in a new format to support development of new applications for the use of the data in air traffic management (ATM).

The meteorological service of Belgocontrol is claimed to be the world’s first ANSP to use the specific data format.

The company manages one of the three European OPerational METeo (OPMET) databanks within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meteorological data communication.

Operational meteorological data is exchanged on a global scale for use in the aviation sector, which is under the charge of ICAO.

Belgocontrol CEO Johan Decuyper said: “The exchange of meteorological data is tremendously important in aviation.

“Our meteorological service plays a key role in Europe by managing a databank. Now we also set an example to the rest of the world by being the very first to use the new data exchange format.”

Currently, the Belgian ANSP uses the ICAO Meteorological Information Exchange Model (IWXXM) format for transmitting meteorological data.

"Our meteorological service plays a key role in Europe by managing a databank."

The message format, along with the related data model, is slated to become an ICAO standard from 2020, making it mandatory.

In meteorology, this is the first step taken to implement the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) concept that has been elaborated within Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR).

Belgocontrol is set to transmit data in the new format to the Regional OPMET Centre in London from where it will be transmitted worldwide.

The IWXXM format will enable the integration of applications in the future, such as more accessible representation of meteorological data combined with other aviation data for instance, airports.

Image: Belgocontrol sends operational meteorological data in a new format. Photo: courtesy of Belgocontrol.